The PluSport umbrella organization: Competence centre for sports for the disabled in Switzerland
In 1956, a priest by the name of Grivel who had contracted polio, launched a movement that would enable disabled people to engage in sporting activities on a regular basis. Grivel asked Henri Guisan, the former general, for help with setting up sports medicine centres, and an initiative committee called the “Schweizerische Arbeitsgruppe für Invalidensport” (Swiss Working Group for Disabled Sports) was then founded. Since the sporting activities were to be organised not only for but also by people with disabilities, the working group was renamed “Schweizerisches Verband für Invalidensport SVIS” in 1960 and the “Schweizerisches Verband für Behindertensport SVBS” (both translated as the Swiss Association of Disabled Sports) in 1977. The association has been part of the Swiss sports umbrella organisation Swiss Olympic since 1974.
The SVBS was restructured in 1991 and 1992. Its goals and principles were overhauled, a mission statement drawn up and new articles of association approved, and the association moved into its headquarters in Volketswil. Since then, it has developed from a self-help organisation for people with disabilities into an association that focuses primarily on sport rather than on disability.
In the anniversary year 2000 (40 years of disabled sports in Switzerland), the association’s delegates approved the new name of “PluSport Behindertensport Schweiz” (PluSport Disabled Sports Switzerland). With this change, it sent out a positive signal and reaffirmed its position as the umbrella organisation for disabled sports, offering modern, attractive sporting opportunities to 12,000 members and working with great efficiency thanks to its lean structures.
Since its foundation, the association has made huge progress not just in name but also in its tasks and objectives and continues to shape disabled sport in Switzerland together with countless active, self-confident sportsmen and women. While its foundation-laying work of the early years primarily fulfilled a social purpose, PluSport now functions as a centre of excellence for sport, disability and inclusion.
PluSport is also represented on important, international disabled sports committees and in 2020 it will celebrate its 60-year anniversary. With its 60 years of commitment to promoting Swiss disabled sports, PluSport has made an enormous contribution to our society.